Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Mum's Red Cabbage with a Twist

This is one of those side-dishes that we tend to grow up with in Belgium. Whether it is homemade or not everyone knows about it and a lot of us love it. It is a typical Winter dish because it is cabbage. That is just how it is over here. Red cabbage is packed with all you need to get through Winter so do not hesitate to scoop yourself a hot bowl of this colourful vegetable. If you need to have some meat, this vegetable is very nice with your favourite sausage or some meat stew.

This particular recipe is based on my family recipe for cabbage. It does take a while to cook, so I tend to make it the day before I serve it, or just in the morning if I want to eat it for dinner. That way you don't hurry the dish and everything can cook at its ease.

What do you need?

- 1 whole red cabbage, finely sliced (explained below)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, deseeded and cubed
- a couple of fresh bay leaves
- a couple of fresh sprigs of thyme
- the juice of 1 orange
- a handful of dried cranberries
- 300 ml water
- a small knob of butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp red currant jelly

What do you need to do?

First off, start by finely slicing the cabbage. Cut it in quarters like you would a watermelon. Then separately finely slice every quarter from the top to the bottom so you have fine shreds of cabbage.

Heat a large enough pan. If you can get your hands on it, something like a Le Creuset would be perfect, if not a normal one will do as well. Melt a small knob of butter in it. Once it is foaming, add the onions and apples and leave it to cook for a minute or so. Then add the cabbage, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, orange juice and water and bring to a light boil. Once the liquid is simmering, turn the heat down to one of the lowest stands and place the lid on.

Because this cabbage has quite a tough texture when it is raw, it will take a while to cook. So sit back, relax, grab a book and a glass of wine and enjoy the scent of fruity red cabbage filling your home. Of course you can also do something productive but shredding up that cabbage already takes some manpower. Every once in a while try and give the cabbage a good stir. When the cabbage has softened, add your cranberries, some salt,pepper and a tablespoon of sugar, stir and place the lid back on top. Leave it to simmer more, stirring once in a while. Do count at least a couple of hours of simmering in total!

I make this is the evening the day before and I tend to turn off the heat and just leave it in the pan all night out of the fridge. That way the flavours will absorb. The next day, before serving, I slowly allow for the dish to heat up. I add the red currant jelly and stir it in. When it is warm enough, the liquid is simmering and your red cabbage is nice and soft, it is done and ready to eat!

Enjoy ;)

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